Drmn’ Vibe netdemo at Intro.Inter.Tech

First off, there is a [Big Photo Album] with pics and videos of many of the pieces. (Audio-centric ones didn’t document well since my camera seems to assume the microphone(s) are just there for the photographer to talk to it, and any sound that occurs in front of the camera is just noise.) Also, the chat log of random strangers from the demo app is posted in case anyone is interested. Not everyone bothered to change the previous user’s screen name setting before chatting in it (or changed it later), so names may not exactly map to people.

For this piece two laptops were set up on tables facing away from each other, with a USB trance vibrator attached to each. The demo application, shown in ths post, was running on each machine, one as the client and one as the server. (Wireless was non-existent on one machine and hosed on the other, so they were connected with a hub and plenty of Cat 5.) Participants were invited to chat with us or one another and drive the vibrators. The whole setup, complete with stark black and white desktop backgrounds, was meant to be cold and anonymous (although in practice, in a 1-room space the participants can see each other if they turn around).

Results: People had fun with it, and a vibrator bullet ratting around angrily on the table is a neverending source of amusement ;-), but the general consensus was that the whole setup was a little eerie, made moreso by the fact that they were on public display with people walking by (as opposed to typing dirty in private), and that the participants could still turn around and see each other. It seemed a majority would prefer complete anonymity in their play, being able to have fun with a wholly unknown user and then disappear, without learning their partner’s identity or divulging their own.

(These sentiments were echoed by some participants in Rebecca’s piece, which was set in the “virtual sex” scenario of many future movies past. The setup was a pair of cameras mounted in acrylic cubes, sitting on adjacent mats representing individual pods that could be physically in the same room or a world apart. After applying a Saran Wrap condom (remember kids, safe cybersex!) to their cube, the users would each use the cube in place of their partner, with the video feeds superimposed on a single projection screen. For example, by each making out with the cube surface the two would appear to make out with one another onscreen. Participants revealed how hesitant they felt engaging in this ‘intimate contact’ with a stranger sitting next to them, even if all they were really having contact with was a plastic cube.)

As a complete afterthought, the built-in Webcam on one of the laptops was enabled, with the video showing in a window on its own screen. It seemed to me to mesh well with the overall theme of anonymous cybersex with a partner you will most likely not meet up with again, since there one is probably in it mainly for oneself (as opposed to, say, pleasuring random strangers without reciprocation)… looking into the on-screen window to see the object of your pleasure, and finding your own face staring back at you.

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